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Archive for the ‘Financial Planning’ Category

Welcome John Weinstein CFP®, MBA

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Decision Investments is pleased to announce that long time friend and colleague, John Weinstein CFP®, MBA has accepted a Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager position effective today. John brings with him 14 years experience working with a large Wall Street firm and an established base of clients, relationships and assets.  John joins a growing number of successful Financial Advisors who appreciate the many benefits of working with a smaller independent  firm.

As a Managing Partner, John’s primary focus is on Financial Planning and Portfolio Management. John holds a Cerified Financial Planner CFP® designation and earned a Masters in Business Administration MBA from George Washington University. Beyond his overall investing capabilities, John focuses on identifying investments that pay above average dividends while still trading at attractive valuations.

John is civically minded and has been an active volunteer with the La Jolla Town Council, La Jolla Newcomers, Voices for Children, Big Brother/Big Sister, It’s all about the Kids Foundation and with the San Diego Film Festival.

John’s passion for the industry and for helping others shows every day. In addition to his extensive knowledge in Financial Planning and Investing, he prides himself on a client-centric mindset which includes same day responses to client questions, offering client education events and providing truly individualized investing solutions. Decision Investments and our clients are fortunate to benefit from all that John will be able to contribute in his new role.

Market Stats

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The chart below highlights just how fast, furious and widespread the decline has been over the last couple of weeks.  Among other ugly stats, you will notice that Small cap companies as well as the Telecom, Materials, Industrials and Financials sectors all sold off near 20% from recent highs. The declines in Brazil, Australia, Italy, France and Germany were even steeper. 

The broad based selling, resulting (in large part) from the S&P downgrading US debt, caused trillions of dollars in lost market capitalization for US Equities. Where did the money go?  Ironically, most of it went into the “safe haven” of US government debt pushing treasury prices higher and yields lower.

All of the market gains that took place during the period that the Fed was conducting “QE2” have been wiped out and the yields on stocks compared to bonds hasn’t been this high since 1962. No investor, institutional or otherwise, knows what is going to happen next but seasoned investors don’t sit idle in volatile markets.  Whether it’s selling names that have broken down technically or buying oversold opportunities, the key is paying attention and being active. 

c/o Bespoke Investments

We encourage you to revisit Dow 12,000, Now What?, which we wrote in January when we posited that the “big Bounce” from market lows was over and offered strategies to help protect and grow portfolios in volatile markets.  We do feel strongly that there are opportunities to exploit at current levels but would like to see the S&P stabilize before we make any more purchases.

In the coming weeks we will try to identify companies who have been unduly punished as a result of the broad sell off…companies down 20% or more that  likely won’t be selling 20% fewer burgers, servers, coffee, mobile phones or services (as a result of  an S&P downgrade, or European debt crisis)  than they were poised to sell three weeks ago when the markets turned.

2010 IRA Contribution Limits

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Contribution limits and filing deadlines for IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, Profit Sharing Plans and individual 401K’s.

 Traditional IRA Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Contribution
(if under age 50)
Maximum Contribution
(if over age 50)
Contribution Deadline Limits on Tax Deductibility
2010 $5,000 $6,000 4/18/2011 Neither You or Your Spouse in Employer Plan – Contribution is Fully Tax Deductible
You’re in an Employer Plan
Single $56,000-$66,000
Married- Filing Jointly $89,000-$109,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000
Only Your Spouse in an Employer Plan
Married- Filing Jointly $167,000-$177,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000
2011 $5,000 $6,000 4/16/2012 Neither You or Your Spouse in Employer Plan – Contribution is Fully Tax Deductible
You’re in an Employer Plan
Single $56,000-$66,000
Married- Filing Jointly $90,000-$110,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000
Only Your Spouse in an Employer Plan
Married- Filing Jointly $169,000-$179,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000

Roth IRA Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Contribution
(if under age 50)
Maximum Contribution
(if over age 50)
Contribution Deadline Income Limits for Contributions
2010 $5,000 $6,000 4/18/2011 Tax Filing Status Income
Single $105,000-$120,000
Married- Filing Jointly $167,000-$177,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000
2011 $5,000 $6,000 4/16/2012 Tax Filing Status Income
Single $107,000-$122,000
Married- Filing Jointly $169,000-$179,000
Married- Filing Separately $0-$10,000

Coverdell ESA Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Contribution Contribution Deadline Income Limits for Contributions
2010 $2,000 4/18/2011 Tax Filing Status Income
Single $95,000-$110,000
Married- Filing Jointly $190,000-$220,000
2011 $2,000 4/16/2012 Tax Filing Status Income
Single $95,000-$110,000
Married- Filing Jointly $190,000-$220,000

SEP IRA/Profit Sharing/Money Purchase Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Contribution Contribution Deadline
2010 $49,000 4/18/2011 (plus extensions)
2011 $49,000 4/16/2012 (plus extensions)

SIMPLE IRA Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Contribution
(if under age 50)
Maximum Contribution
(if over age 50)
Contribution Deadline
2010 $11,500 $14,000 4/18/2011 (plus extensions)
2011 $11,500 $14,000 4/16/2012 (plus extensions

INDIVIDUAL & ROTH INDIVIDUAL 401(K) Contribution Amounts / Deadlines

Year Maximum Salary Deferral
(if under age 50)
Maximum Salary Deferral
(if over age 50)
Contribution Deadline
2010 $16,500 $22,000 4/18/2011 (plus extensions)
2011 $16,500 $22,000 4/16/2012 (plus extensions)
Year Maximum Contribution
(if under age 50)
Maximum Contribution
(if over age 50)
Contribution Deadline
2010 $49,000 $54,500 4/18/2011 (plus extensions)
2011 $49,000 $54,500 4/16/2012 (plus extensions)

Breast Cancer Awareness Portfolio

Monday, April 4th, 2011

 

Investors are looking for more ways to give back to the community and to allocate resources to things that matter most to them and their families.  Decision Investments is pleased to introduce the Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Portfolio. The investment strategy is designed to make a meaningful contribution to overall cancer research and raise tens of thousands of dollars for breast cancer advocacy organizations. See more here.

Actionable Investment Ideas: COW

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Following up from last week’s post DOW 12,000…Now What?, where we asked what is an investor to do when the broad equity, bond, gold and energy markets have all rallied handsomely, we offer the following actionable investment idea.

COW is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that seeks to track the overall returns of the Dow Jones-UBS Livestock Total Return Sub-Index. The index is composed of two futures contracts, lean hogs and live cattle. We find it compelling and worth taking a closer look for several reasons.

Looking at the fundamentals, the demand for meat from the United States is strong. With the price of grain at record highs, many ranchers are choosing to take their “breeders” to slaughter resulting in a significant reduction to supply.   One of the themes that  investors try to capitalize on relates to the many opportunities that present themselves in a global economy as the quality of living improves in under-developed nations around the world. From infrastructure to technology, opportunities abound in these countries and a change  to a higher protein diet is one of many known improvements that consistently take place.  Accordingly, the increased demand for livestock may prove to be an ongoing driver of price for the years to come.  In fact, China has been experiencing a shift to beef accompanied by a reduction in supply and the US recently became a net exporter there for the first time.  Some of our other (in depth, proprietary) research suggest that there may be a lot of people in China.

Since the fundamentals for “COW” appear strong, we next look to the technicals and the chart puts us in a good moo-d. Unlike so many other segments of the markets, it is not up 75-150% over the last two years.  It isn’t in free fall either.  The long-term chart looks appealing since it was in a down-trend for some time, consolidated, turned upwards and remains in an uptrend with momentum.

We believe COW is a compelling opportunity with sound fundamental reasons to drive demand/price and attractive technicals.*  We will be watching it closely and feel that it may prove to be a timely opportunity with significant upside potential over the next six to eighteen months.